Revising national standards
Achieving PEFC endorsement of a national forest certification system is not the final step. Through our endorsement milestones, we ensure that national stardards are reviewed regularly so we know they continue to meet our benchmarks.
We need to ensure that all PEFC endorsed national forest certification systems systematically incorporate latest scientific research, practical experiences and best practices from the field, as well as evolving values, expectations and aspirations of society towards sustainable forest management. This is why we have developed a system to ensure PEFC endorsed national systems are regularly reviewed, and if necessary, revised.
For a national system to maintain its endorsement, it must meet a series of endorsement milestones. These milestones are linked to the national periodic review of the system and the sustainable forest management standard.
The first endorsement milestone is the start of the periodic review of the national standard, within five years of the previous national approval. From this ‘review date’, the national revision process must be completed within two years (second milestone) and the system needs to have successfully passed the assessment by the registered assessor within three years (third milestone).
With the milestones, we are constantly monitoring the endorsed national systems, ensuring they respect their national periodic review processes and continue to meet our benchmarks. National systems that miss the milestones risk suspension of their endorsement.
National systems go through a periodic review five years after their national approval (first endorsement milestone). The periodic review includes a gap analysis, public consultation and consideration of feedback received while the standard is in force.
The periodic review ensures the national systems are consistently updated to meet our evolving benchmarks and national and international expectations. A periodic review can have two outcomes:
- The standard is reaffirmed, i.e. the current version is approved with no changes.
- The standard is revised.
Assessing revised and reaffirmed national systems
Revised and reaffirmed systems need to be assessed in order to maintain their PEFC endorsement. However, these assessment differ from the more comprehensive review of a new system. PEFC Registered Assessors carry out the assessment of both revised and reaffirmed systems.
Unlike with a new system, the assessment of a revised system can be limited to an assessment of the changes. This approach relies on the previous assessment results and reduces time and cost in the process. For the parts of the system that were not changed, the assessor carries out a comparison against the previously endorsed system to confirm that nothing has changed.
This assessment focuses on the review process, to ensure that the decision to reaffirm the system is justified and has the support of the relevant stakeholders. An important element is the comparison of the reaffirmed system documents with the previously endorsed system. This comparison ensures that no changes were made and identifies any changes that were not reported.